Security measures in branches accelerated in this time with monitored alarm systems at selected larger branches and fixed cameras installed across the entire network – the first national initiative towards standardisation.
Although “back of house” space began to free up during this time, the fixed nature of telling counters and other elements meant this space was not readily used. The design of new branches took this into consideration and the ratio of customer to staff space moved closer to 40:60.
Brave new world
As the world entered the 1980s, Australia saw the introduction of two major changes in retail banking. The first generation of electronic banking systems were installed across the entire network and new gun laws were introduced, resulting in ANZ having to remove all firearms from branches.
However these changes to the network resulted in a massive spike in bank robberies. In the mid-1980s each of the major banks were averaging two robberies per week across the nation. In 1987 an agreement by ANZ and the Financial Services Union required all branches that sustained two or more robberies in any 12-month period be fitted with rising screens. A robbery at ANZ’s Chapel Street branch in Melbourne also led to the development and installation of Cryptoguard alarm systems to all high-risk branches.
The increased focus on security coupled with the introduction of electronic banking systems led to a further evolution of the branch design. At the outset, branches were divided into various operational zones:
- Secure zone for cash management and telling
- Customer zone for sales, interviewing and waiting areas
- Back of house or staff-only areas
The inter-relationship of these areas, and particularly the lines of sight between them, were a key element of the design process.